‘Don’t trust or believe McCabe,’ TD was told
THE first witness was former Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness, pictured. He said he had met the then Garda commissioner in a car park in January 2014. Mr Callinan had told him that Sgt Maurice McCabe was being investigated for child sexual abuse and was not to be trusted. (An allegation of historic sexual abuse was made against Sgt McCabe in 2006; the matter was investigated and the DPP directed there should be no charge.)
The TD claimed that Mr Callinan described Sgt McCabe as a ‘kiddie fiddler’. ‘This was a meeting arranged by the commissioner,’ Mr McGuinness said. ‘It was being suggested that there was a live file… It was no longer a rumour; it was something presented as fact. I was quite shocked and I wasn’t in a position to take on the commissioner.’
Crucially, Mr McGuinness’s statement has been backed up by a letter from Micheál Martin, who said Mr McGuinness told him about the meeting shortly afterwards. Mr Callinan has claimed – in a statement submitted to the tribunal – that it was Mr McGuinness who raised Sgt McCabe’s motivation at their car park meeting.
‘NOT TO BE TRUSTED’
FINE Gael TD John Deasy, pictured, told the tribunal on Tuesday that he was warned that Sgt McCabe was not to be ‘believed or trusted’.
He said these remarks were made by Mr Callinan during a brief encounter in Leinster House just before the commissioner’s PAC appearance. Mr Deasy was a member of PAC when the committee was probing the widespread quashing by gardaí of penalty points for traffic offences. He said he ‘couldn’t believe’ a Garda commissioner would make such comments about a serving member of the force: ‘[He said] Maurice McCabe was not to be believed or trusted with anything. It took my breath away.’
SOLICITOR Gerald Kean, pictured, gave evidence on Thursday. He recalled phone conversations with Mr Callinan prior to Mr Kean being a panellist on RTÉ Radio 1’s Marian Finucane Show in January 2014. Earlier that week, Mr Callinan had made his ‘quite disgusting’ remark at the PAC hearing. By the time the programme aired, Mr Callinan had met Mr McGuinness in the car park. Mr Kean said the commissioner told him that Sgt McCabe had not co-operated ‘in any shape or form’ with an internal inquiry into the penalty points system; that he was obstructive and had breached the Data Protection Act. However, Sgt McCabe was never asked to co-operate with the inquiry.
Mr Kean repeated the incorrect information on the Marian Finucane Show. Following these comments, Sgt McCabe took a libel action, which was settled last year. Mr Kean told the tribunal: ‘I believed the commissioner was somebody beyond reproach. I was representing my own views but very much based on the information that was in the public domain since October and the information given to me by the commissioner.’
Mr Kean later wrote to Mr Callinan and enclosed a complaint from Sgt McCabe. Comments from Mr Callinan were included in Mr Kean’s written reply to Sgt McCabe.
COMPTROLLER and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy, pictured – who started the motoring penalty points probe in 2012 – gave evidence on Friday. He said Mr Callinan told him that Sgt McCabe was not to be trusted; had questions to answer, and was at the centre of sexual offences allegations.
He claimed these remarks were made just before the commissioner’s PAC appearance in January 2014.
The Disclosures Tribunal resumed with a bang this week – particularly for former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan, left. Led by Justice Peter Charleton, the tribunal is inquiring into whether there was an orchestrated smear campaign by senior gardaí...